Prostitutionsdebat og -politik

Ane Krestine Larsen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This thesis aims at clarifying how prostitution and prostitutes are constructed in the public debate and policy in Denmark. Prostitution is a controversial subject, implying conflicting norms, values and political interests. While the main subject of debate is whether or not to criminalize sex costumers, underlying norms play a significant role in the diverging arguments. In order to deconstruct and analyse which norms and values control the perception of prostitution and prostitutes, I have made use of Carol Bacchis frame analysis, Michel Foucault’s conceptualization of sexuality, discipline and power, Judith Butler’s concept of gender and Sara Ahmed’s notion of sticky shame. Throughout my research, I found numerous comparisons between the debate and the policy in relation to the normative representation of prostitution and prostitutes. This shows the discourse of the public debate forms a relevant context in which to understand the policy and vice versa. The debate continuously positions men and women against one another as contrasting genders in terms of sexuality and power. Prostitutes are typically presented as female, while sex buyers are males. Prostitutes are most of the time portrayed as being vulnerable, disadvantaged and typically suffering from several social issues. Moreover, the fact that prostitution is defined as a social problem implies that prostitutes are victims. The contrast to this is the sex worker for whom prostitution is a freely chosen job, but whose experiences are likely to be criticized and undermined, often by former prostitutes. The debate does not pay much attention to the sex buyer. This lack of consideration is reproduced in the prostitution policy that does not include any customer-related initiatives. Prostitution as phenomena is thus primarily understood as being a problem for the prostitute, who becomes the only part of the prostitution-relation subject to initiatives trying to diminish prostitution. The way we understand prostitution as a social problem thereby potentially excludes prostitutes from the social-political measures taken against prostitution as the perception maintains a fixed approach to how prostitution is solved.

UddannelserKommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato2 sep. 2013
VejledereRikke Andreassen


  • Prostitution, debate, policy, discourseanalysis